PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS
During the course of construction i came accross a few problems with my design. First was ground clearance, when we set the car down it rode on the frame instead of the wheels. To solve this problem we simply flipped the car over and the neccesary clearance was achieved.
My only other major problem was with the ripcord, at the very end it was pulling loose and i was losing that last little bit of power from the mousetrap. To remedy this i made a hole in the axel which was used to hold the end of the string to insure that i was harnessing the full amount of energy of the mousetrap car.
APPLICATION OF CONCEPTS
There are several factors to consider when building a mousetrap car. The switch potential to kenetic energy and the rate at which this change takes place and also the pros and cons of friction. All of these factors come into play with a successful mousetrap car.
The most important part of a good mousetrap car is the gradual change in the potential to kenetic energy. It is just like driving a manual transmission, if u let the clutch out too fast with not enough gas then the car will stall out and go nowhere and if u give it too much gas and let the clutch out too slow then u will just spin the tires and waste very valuable energy. The same can be said for mousetrap cars, if the change from potential to kenetic is too gradual then the car will go very slow nd prob not very far(stalling out), and if the change from PE(potential energy) to KE(kenetic energy) is too great then the tires will spin and energy will be wasted(burning out). The trick is to let out the clutch and hit the gas at exactly the same time, if the PE to KE change is just right then the car will take off and run smoothly.
Friction is both good and bad, lets start with the bad and then we'll give you the good news. Friction is bad because it causes the car to slow down. If there is too much friction on the axels they wont spin well, if there is too much friction between the wheels and the floor then the car will slow down and stop very quickly as soon as the power from the mousetrap has been exerted. There is also a prob with too little friction, if there is too little friction then the wheels will just spin on the floor and you will go nowhere.
Friction is a good thing because without it then once again the wheels would spin and you would go nowhere. Finding the perfect amount of friction is crucial, the right amount of friction allows the car to have a solid takeoff while being able to maintain its speed after the energy of the mousetrap has been expended.
All of these factors must be taken into consideration when building the perfect mousetrap car. The proper amount of friction and that perfect exchange of PE and KE must be achieve to have a truly successful mousetrap racer.
My car wasn't very fast so i didn't come into this race expecting to win, however, i did expect to go the distance. A lot of the other cars were faster than mine. Paul's, for example, went the distance in under two seconds and several other cars made it in under three. What my car lacked in speed it made up for in its ability to go the five meters consistantly where as several other cars had a lot of trouble making the minimum distance.